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HPV Testing

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease. There are more than 100 strains of HPV and some can cause cancer. HPV testing identifies whether you have one of the strains of HPV that can cause cervical cancer.

The test requires a sample from your cervix and can be done from the same sample as a pap smear. The procedure is usually painless. You will receive either a positive or negative result from this test. A positive result means that you have one of the cancer-causing strains of HPV. A negative result means that you do not have a cancer-causing strain of HPV.

HPV vaccination is cancer prevention

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common infection that can affect anyone. Almost 35,000 people in the US are diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV each year. Thankfully, the HPV vaccine is estimated to prevent 90% of HPV-related cancers.

More About HPV Testing

Women can be tested for the HPV virus as part of a routine pap smear. Currently, there is not an HPV test for men. Testing is recommended for the following groups of people:

  • Women 30 years and older
  • Women with more than one sexual partner
  • Women who have symptoms like genital or common warts or genital lesions
  • Women with weakened immune systems due to HIV/AIDS or, who take medicine that lowers their immune response
 If you receive a positive HPV test, your health care provider may prescribe one of the following procedures.
  • Colposcopy: A closer examination of your cervix more closely, using a magnification tool

  • Biopsy: A sample of your cervix, which is viewed under a microscope.

  • Abnormal cell removal: A procedure to take out the abnormal cells in your cervix, which could prevent those cells from developing into cancer

You may need to see a doctor who specializes in cervical cancer care.